altA group of staff, who were previously employed by a Gala Bingo club in Scotland, have recently appeared at a Dundee employment tribunal claiming they were unfairly dismissed. The four employees, who are all from the Fife area, had been visiting one of the chain’s other clubs on a day out in 2012, and were subsequently dismissed for taking their own food and drink into the premises. The tribunal, which took place in March 2013, were told that the staff were sacked on two different counts; firstly, for breaching company policy, and secondly, for breaching the club’s liquor licence. However, when questioned, the regional manager (Peter Connor) who made the decision to give the four employees the boot, confessed that their behaviour contravened neither of Gala Bingo’s policies.

On the day of the incident, William Anderson, Susan Scappaticcio, Lori Kennedy, and Sylvia Cunningham had been visiting the Possil Park club in Glasgow, and are alleged to have smuggled in alcoholic beverages which they hid under their bingo tables. The club’s manager noticed them due to their noisy behaviour, and upon approaching the four, discovered their connection to Gala Bingo.

Whilst it’s reported that Ms. Scappaticcio (from Glenrothes) and Ms. Cunningham (from Leven) have both made previous out-of-court settlements, Mr. Anderson and Ms. Kennedy took the matter to court stating they were unfairly dismissed. Their ex-manager told the tribunal that the word of the dismissal letters could have been better worded as it stated that the pair had both breached Gala’s staff gaming policy and liquor licence which, when questioned under cross-examination, he confessed was actually incorrect and was mentioned nowhere in the chain’s policy documents.

Ms. Kennedy stated that when Mr. Connor had asked her what would happen to any club members in the same circumstances, she would have removed their drinks and told her manager, as the clubs’ licence does not cover alcohol that is brought into the premises.

Although Mr. Connor says he is still convinced he made the right decision in dismissing the four members of staff, he admitted that he was not in the correct frame of mind when compiling the dismissal letters, as he was concentrating on moving clubs at the time. The tribunal has since been adjourned until May 2013.

What do our readers think about this story? Do you think that these Gala Bingo employees should be reinstated with a full apology, or do you believe that it was right to dismiss them?